Self Heal Taste Review and Cooking Guides
Table of Contents
Why Self Heal Is Popular In Chinese Cuisines?
Self Heal (Xia Ku Cao in Chinese) may have originated from Britain, where it’s better-known as prunella Vulgaris, but its medicinal benefits are more prevalent in Asia than any other part of the world. Self-heal isn’t one plant you can bank on to add more flavor to your dish. It has a strong smell that may attract lots of attention, but they’re not in any way a killer ingredient like Ginger, Curry, or Seaweed.
Self-heal is better prepared as a tea and may be seen in some vegetable salad. In the Western world, people rarely go for fresh self heals since the powdered version is readily available in stores. While this relieves the stress of sourcing for this plant on the field, the powdered form feels adulterated and might not be as effective as the fresh ones.
What Does Self Heal Taste Like?
Self heal is generally known to have a bitter taste. According to several pieces of information, it isn’t as bitter as what most people think it to be. It has a taste that’s better classified as pungent rather than strong like Neem, Chicory, or dandelion.
However, you can embark on a taste test yourself to figure out the real taste of this herb. When eating fresh self-heal or making a cup of tea out of it, you will notice a slight sweetness familiar to the taste of plants belonging to the family of mint. Hence, it has many features of mint family plants. This includes having a cooling effect on the tongue and may leave an after-taste.
Self-heal is better enjoyed when prepared as a tea. The plant is so popular that it’s taken for granted, but that hasn’t stopped the Chinese from tapping into its medicinal benefits. This herb can be incorporated into dishes but is more used in vegetable salads since its taste can be easily concealed.
In tea, the anti-oxidant property of this herb is better utilized. It contains a rosmarinic acid, which helps prevent a lot of diseases. This acid is one primary reason why self-heal taste like rosemary with a more pungent smell.
How to Use Self Heal In Chinese Cuisines?
Har Ku Chou
There is a number of ways used in preparing self Heal, but the most popular is making as tea. Here, the tonic is easily extracted and taste a bit sweet except for the minty taste, which tends to have a cooling effect on the tongue.
Self-heal tea is effective in clearing any form of challenges to the kidney, heart, liver, and eyes. It has a detoxifying effect that completely flushes toxins from your body.
Self-heal tea or Har Ku Chou is easy to prepare, and it looks like a one-way thing. In that sense, you simply have to infuse the powder to a glass of warm water and cover for about 30 minutes to allow the herb soak properly. Self-heal tea is quite light in ingredients, but you’re allowed to improve its taste with any herb of your choice provided you use the required dosage.
Self Heal Salve
Self Heal salve is a nourishing drink prepared with this herb. It’s similar to tea but has a thick texture that allows you to feel the taste of each of its ingredients. This salve is lightweight and feels greasy since it’s infused in oil.
The more the amount of oil you infuse it into, the stronger it gets. It looks like liquid when served hot but thickens as it gets cold. Self heal infused oil is only added towards the end of the cook, and you can store in a container after it cools.
This salve can be consumed orally but also comes with a lot of ingredients that enhance the elasticity of the skin. If you have any form of skin irritation, inflammation, or wound, simply massage into the affected area like an ointment.
Self Heal Herbal Soup
Herbal soup is an excellent way of enjoying self-heal. Rather than scooping a tasteless tea down your throat, you can add some flavor and more nutrients when you prepare a soup with this herb. Basically, you’re allowed to get creative with the kind of ingredients you want to use, just ensure your soup is well garnished with its green leaves. You will want to choose ingredients with mild taste since this leave already has a strong pungent taste.
Is Self Heal Healthy?
The health benefits of self-heal are numerous. It took some time for the western world to discover what this plant can offer finally. Despite originating from Britain, it’s medicinal benefits are well-acknowledged in places like China rather than it’s the place of origin. Self-heal is usually used to treat any form of injury. It has astringent properties that help in treating cuts, burn, scrapes, and even boils.
While it’s believed that drinking this herb reduces the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, there is no scientific evidence to back it up. This only further emphasizes the importance of the herb. One thing we’re sure about is its ability to improve the immune system thanks to the presence of polysaccharides, which lowers the risk of infection around the respiratory tract.
In ancient China, this herb was also used to treat many cases of allergies, and the practice exists up to this day. It also improves insulin sensitivity, thereby lowering the risk of diabetes and other heart-related diseases. Like every TCM, excess consumption of this plant has side effects. There’s no doubt about its medicinal effects, but its side effects are even worse. It should only be added in small quantities to salad and tea.
When it comes to preparing dishes with self-heal, your options are quite limited. They’re not versatile, which explains why everybody likes to stick with its tea rather than experimenting.
If you like to experiment, you’re welcome to try something new. Ensure you don’t overstuff its leaves into your dish due to its high antioxidant properties.